- US Defense Department
The long-awaited operation to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, from ISIS occupiers got underway this weekend, led by Iraqi army forces with help from Kurdish Peshmerga and Shiite militias.
A US-led coalition of more than 60 countries has also contributed to the fight against ISIS in Iraq, primarily by launching airstrikes against the terror group throughout the country.
In the months leading up to the Mosul operation, those strikes have hit ISIS command centers, weapons factories, chemical-weapons labs, fighting positions, vehicles, tunnels, and personnel.
Below, you can see a collection of GIFs showing some of the coalition airstrikes that have taken place in recent months.
October 8: Strikes hit a vehicle-borne improvised-explosive-device factory near Mosul.
In addition to the seven strikes launched on October 8, the combined coalition air forces hit the city with four strikeson October 9,four strikeson October 10,four strikeson October 11,one strikeon October 12,five strikeson October 13, andanother strikeon October 15.
Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the operation to retake Mosul on October 16.
September 26: US-led strikes hit another vehicle-borne improvised-explosive-device factory near Al Qaim, in western Iraq near the border with Syria.
Strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria continued a brisk pace in September and October. In the first three days of October alone, coalition planes mounted 69 strikes on fighting positions, weapons emplacements, and energy infrastructure.
September 15: A VBIED factory near Mosul was knocked out by coalition airstrikes.
The September 15 strike came just three days after the destruction of what Operation Inherent Resolve officials called an ISIS headquarters facility that was used to produce chemical weapons.
September 12: US-led coalition strikes leveled an ISIS headquarters building reportedly used as a chemical-weapons facility.
On September 12, three strikes hit an ISIS headquarters building that Operation Inherent Resolve officials said was also used as a chemical-weapons facility.
“Intelligence indicated that Da’esh converted a pharmaceutical plant complex into a chemical weapons production capability, using chlorine or mustard gas,” the US Air Force Central Command official told Business Insider in a statement, referring to ISIS by another name.
“This represents another example of Da’esh’s blatant disregard for international law and norms.”
August 25: Another vehicle-borne improvised-explosive-device factory was knocked out by a coalition strike near Mosul.
As Iraqi forces approached Mosul on the ground in late August, the health of the advance looked in doubt, as the defense minister was forced out in a no-confidence vote on August 25 amid political wrangling and corruption allegations in the Iraqi parliament.
August 21: A coalition strike destroys an ISIS vehicle traveling near Qayyarah, south of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Operation Inherent Resolve added a rhetorical flourish to this video release, appending text saying, “You can run, but you can’t hide!” to the footage, which appears after the bomb explodes on its target.
When asked about the addition of the text, the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) press desk said:
“The text was chosen to show Da’esh, potential terrorist recruits, and the general public that the coalition is capable of targeting Da’esh fighters anywhere and anytime; to demonstrate that the efforts of the Coalition to defeat Da’esh will be successful. … It also serves the purpose of showing that we have a very arduous targeting process; that we are watching Da’esh, no matter where they are, and we will defeat them.”
“This post has succeeded in generating discussions and will be used to help gauge whether Graphics Interchange Formats (GIF) will be used in the future,” the OIR press desk added in its statement. “By staying abreast of the most current and innovative social media trends, CJTF-OIR plans on expanding the audience reached.”
August 9: US-led strikes leveled an ISIS fighting position about 30 miles south of Mosul.
Over the first three days of August, US-led airstrikes hit ISIS command positions and weapons positions in and around northern Iraq in support of Iraqi forces’ efforts to retake territory in the area.
August also saw developments in the political struggle against ISIS’ legacy, as the Iraqi government executed 36 men convicted of participating in the terrorist group’s massacre of about 1,700 Shiite military personnel in 2014.